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Fox and hare will have their day

The promised ban on stag hunting in the programme for government represents a milestone along the road to abolition of all blood sports in Ireland.

Coupled with the restrictions on the operation of hunt kennels engendered by a section of the upcoming puppy-farm legislation, this move will greatly advance the cause of wildlife protection and prevention of cruelty to animals.

For decades, the majestic stag has had to run for its life from packs of hounds, mounted riders, and scores of hunt followers, racing behind in jeeps and motorbikes.

Fleeing its frenzied pursuers in terror, the stag suffered extensive injuries, after becoming entangled in barbed wire or brambles, or attempting to swim across rivers and, sometimes, drowning in the process.

By the end of a hunt, the animal had dropped to the ground from sheer exhaustion, covered in blood and muck, panting and wheezing; its eyes bulging with fear.

And the intention of the hunt wasn't even to kill the animal, it was just to put it through this harrowing ordeal for "sport".

So, fair play to the Green Party for achieving this major breakthrough in the battle against blood sports.

The campaign to ban hare coursing and fox hunting continues.

The stag that once occupied pride of place on our pound coin is again being honoured -- this time by receiving the protection it deserves as a wonderful asset to Ireland's wildlife heritage.

The fox and the hare will have their day, too.

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John Fitzgerald
(Campaign for the Abolition
of Cruel Sports)
Co Kilkenny

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